Alan Gijsbers, November 2008.
They call on me to empty myself Lord,
After all, you did.
You left the splendour of heaven
For humiliation on earth
And bowed to a servant role;
A felon’s death.
But I am nothing. Already empty,
I have nothing to give, but my own broken self,
Conscious of pride, selfishness and sin,
I want to do good but I don’t,
I don’t want to do evil, but I do.
I cannot follow your path;
It is too steep, I have no power,
I lack the faith that I can
Walk your way.
I have tried so many times,
And failed just as often.
Can you still accept me, a failure?
Will you out of your power
Give me strength, give me hope, give me faith?
Will you so fill me with your transforming love
That I too may have the courage
To follow on that journey of surrender and sacrifice?
May my eyes be open to your power and healing,
May I lift my view from my self to you.
May I lift my eyes from myself in my weakness,
And see the needs of others around me
And help to heal them, out of my brokenness, restored by you.
May I see the rich possibilities that your love can create,
In me, and in all I meet,
In this needy world I’m in.
May I then see how I can create the space of love for the other,
Just as you created this world,
And you created space for me.
May I live, giving them the freedom to develop
To be what they choose to be,
Without manipulation or coercion,
But with grace.
May I become an agent of hope and peace
Of love and faith and joy
For your glory’s sake.
Dr Alan Gijsbers MBBS FRACP FAChAM DTM&H PGDip Epi is Specialist Physician in Addiction Medicine; Head, Department of Addiction Medicine Royal Melbourne Hospital; Director, Substance Withdrawal Program The Melbourne Clinic; Chairman Victorian Addiction Inter-hospital Liaison Association; State Chairman ISCAST(Victoria); Immediate Past Chairman, Christian Medical Fellowship of Australia.
This prayer was first published by the Society of Friends as part of the 2008 Backhouse lecture. It is reproduced here by permission.